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The One Thing That's Kept The Spark Alive In My Marriage

We call it a couple's recipe for success.

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Esther Aarts
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This is my second marriage. I’m beyond thrilled to have found a partner for life. Our love is real, mature and based on trust. I don’t mind spending time alone because I never worry about what my husband is doing when he’s not with me. In fact, after so many years doing the working mom juggle, I treasure my alone-time. Which is why it didn’t bother me at all when my husband accepted a job that would require him to spend up to four days a week at his company’s second office out of town. It actually felt like the perfect arrangement: He would leave Sunday night, stay in company housing for a few days while I enjoyed an empty house and some “me time,” and he’d be back by Thursday or Friday before I had a chance to think about being lonely. I never had a reason to wear a bra after 6 p.m. Heaven.

And then came the coronavirus. Travel came to a halt. My husband’s company wasn’t willing to take the risk of sending employees back and forth between offices. He was stuck out of town, and it didn’t look like he’d be coming back home any time soon.

FaceTime and phone calls replaced dinner together and waking up in the same bed. He would send me flowers and sweet text messages during the day to let me know he was thinking of me, but the intimacy of being together — touching each other — was gone. And you know, there were, shall we say, needs that were not being met. So, in this strange new world of digital connection, our evening check-ins began to slowly morph from a daily catch-up to talking dirty.

We discovered the recipe for a successful long-distance relationship. I call it the Three Ps: Patience, Participation and PHONE SEX.

After a couple of awkward misfires when self-consciousness got in the way of any flagpole raising (so to speak), we started to have some really successful “sessions.”

There are a couple of things to navigate around. First of all, a couple has to decide if they are more comfortable with FaceTime/Skype or a phone call. There are advantages to both. I personally prefer the phone.

At first, I felt a bit embarrassed and it was easier not to show my face. But even after doing the deed Alexander Graham Bell-style became second nature, I preferred not having the pressure of needing to put on makeup. Also, not being able to see my husband gave me the freedom to imagine him any way I wanted. (Because yes, we were both on our way to the quarantine 15!) One visual that must be maintained, however, is lighting.

Even if your partner can’t see you, it’s hard to get aroused with the lights on and the TV flashing. The lighting is for you.

Some may prefer FaceTime or Skype because they want that visual connection. If I still had my 25-year-old boobs I might enjoy seeing my own image in that little square in the corner of the screen, and it would likely be less work to prepare for an in-person, visual presentation. And yes, some people prefer being able to see their partner during phone sex because, to be honest, it feels more like porn.

After three solid months of substituting phone sex for the real thing and coming out of it with my marriage intact, I consider myself a bit of an authority on the topic. Here are my top three Phone Sex Fails to avoid:

  • Your devices aren’t charged. Do NOT let this happen. I guarantee you, if you let that bar drop below 25 percent, your phone will die at exactly the wrong moment, and you’ll be left to fend for yourself.
  • Not scheduling your phone sex. Putting “PS” on the calendar might seem like a mood killer, but the last thing you want is to be in the middle of getting down and dirty when a kid comes home or the dog starts barking to go out. Make sure your schedule is cleared, you have nothing to do, and you can focus on making the magic happen.
  • Remembering your to-dos. I’m guilty of this one. Nothing kills a good phone sex session like suddenly shifting into, “Oh, when this is over, remind me we have to go over the redecorating budget for the living room.” Yup, I did this. Trust me, it can wait!

Now that my husband is back home, I am looking forward to when his company reinstates travel. Not just because I miss my private, braless evenings with white wine and Real Housewives reruns. I miss the phone sex. It was mysterious and dangerous, and it felt like we had a sexy little secret to share. Yesterday I called my husband from the other room to try to get him to recreate our phone sex magic under the same roof. A minute later he came strolling into the bedroom with the phone in his hand saying, “Hon, why are you calling me on the phone? I’m right here!”

My husband might miss a few cues now and then, but when it counts, he’s up for anything (literally). The past few months have been full of challenges for every relationship, but I can honestly say that phone sex saved my marriage.